Chocolate is a widely loved food, but unfortunately experts are warning of upcoming global chocolate crisis. No, it’s not an economic term, or at least not yet, but soon, we’ll all realize that chocolate is getting more expensive. And it turns out that it’s just the beginning.
Several reports from the likes of Reuters and Bloomberg already warned that the world is running out of cocoa. In fact, cocoa is disappearing faster than oil and by 2020 the global shortfall of cocoa will reach 1 million metric tons, according to Mars and Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest chocolate maker. There are several reasons for this – drought, plant disease, and increasing demand from new markets. Official numbers show a very disturbing picture for chocolate lovers – the price of cocoa and chocolate is constantly getting higher. The average price of cocoa between 1993 and 2007 was $1,465 a ton, while from 2008 to 2014 it was $2,736, which is an increase of 87%. Only in 2014, the cocoa price saw an increase of around 45%. The supply simply can’t meet the increasing demand.
But experts are pointing out that this isn’t just a short-term imbalance in the market. Cocoa production is declining due to pests, which are killing the crops in entire countries. Poor weather conditions and political turmoil in cocoa-producing territories also add up to the problem. On the other hand, we have an increasing demand, which is only expected to soar in the coming years. This growth in demand is driven for the most part by developing countries such as China. Today, the Chinese are eating twice as much chocolate as they did only twelve years ago. Two other growing markets are Brazil and India, which are also increasing their appetite for the sweet delicacy.
Last summer industry leaders such as Hershey and Mars increased the prices for their chocolate products with 8% and 7%, respectively. Both companies said the reason for this increase in the increased ingredient, transportation, and manufacturing costs. According to the World Cocoa Foundation, around 68% of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa, where currently production is slowing down due to pests and climate change. The other important cacao, as it is called, region in the world – Latin America, is also struck by disease, while many farms are suffering because of the draught.
For now, our favourite chocolate brands are selling at almost the same price. But experts warn that the little increases are just the beginning – nothing will stop this trend and by 2030 the difference between how much we produce and how much we consume will be around 2 million metric tons. Chocolate is getting more expensive, but the only thing that is even worse is that its quality is declining. So, eat as much as you can right now, because one day chocolate will contain less cocoa than today’s KitKat or M&Ms, but will cost twice as much.